The Beguiled (1971)

The Beguiled
Director: Don Siegel
Writer: Albert Maltz, Irene Kamp, Claude Traverse
Based on: Thomas P. Cullinan‘s novel
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Geraldine Page, Elizabeth Hartman, Jo Ann Harris, Darleen Carr, Mae Mercer, Pamelyn Ferdin, Melody Thomas Scott, Peggy Drier, Patricia Mattick
Seen on: 2.7.2017

John McBurney (Clint Eastwood) is an injured Union soldier on the run in the South during the US Civil War. He stumbles upon a girl’s school, led by Miss Martha (Geraldine Page) and finds pity in the women who don’t turn him in to the Confederate soldiers – at least not until he’s healed and stands a chance to survive. But they keep him under lock and key while they tend to him. The teacher Edwina (Elizabeth Hartman) and the girls – above all Carol (Jo Ann Harris) – are intrigued and excited by the soldier and soon vie for his affections. Not even Miss Martha finds herself unmoved as McBurney tries to turn the situation to his advantage.

The Beguiled is a protofeminist film that didn’t age well in all aspects but is still a solid, if a little predictable, movie.

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Les lèvres rouges [Daughters of Darkness] (1971)

Les lèvres rouges aka Le rouge aux Lèvres
Director: Harry Kümel
Writer: Pierre Drouot, Harry Kümel, Jean FerryManfred R. Köhler
Cast: Delphine SeyrigJohn KarlenDanielle OuimetAndrea RauPaul EsserGeorges JaminJoris ColletFons Rademakers
Part of: identities Festival
Seen on: 16.6.2017

Stefan (John Karlen) and Valerie (Danielle Ouimet) just got married very quickly and without the knowledge of Stefan’s family. On the way to them, they take a break in an empty seaside resort. Stefan is in no hurry to reach his family, while Valerie wants things settled. As they discuss when to move on, other guests arrive: the beautiful Countess Bathory (Delphine Seyrig) and her assistant Ilona (Andrea Rau). The countess takes an interest in Stefan and Valerie, and vice versa.

At the festival, the film caught me at the wrong moment and I wasn’t particularly taken with it, but noted that another watch under better circumstances would probably yield a different result. I have since re-watched it and I have to admit that it was much better this time, even if it probably won’t become a favorite of mine.

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Wake in Fright (1971)

Wake in Fright
Director: Ted Kotcheff
Writer: Evan Jones
Based on: Kenneth Cook‘s novel
Cast: Gary Bond, Donald Pleasence, Chips Rafferty, Sylvia Kay, Jack Thompson
Part of: /slash Christmas special
Seen on: 17.12.2015

John Grant (Gary Bond) works as a teacher in the middle of nowhere. He hates it, but he has to work of his debts. Fortunately the Christmas holidays are approaching and John can return to Sidney to see his fiancée. But first he hast to take the train to the next bigger town. There he meets Jock (Chips Rafferty), a police man, who keeps inviting him for drinks and finally John starts to gamble, promptly losing all his money. Now stranded, he gets swept up in a drunken, violent haze.

Wake in Fright did not work for me. I thought that the social criticism – most of what made the movie worthwhile in the first place – fell short and remained superficial. Instead of engaging, the movie was mostly just exhausting.



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Cuadecuc, vampir (1971)

Cuadecuc, vampir
Director: Pere Portabella
Writer: Pere Portabella, Joan Brossa
Based on: Count Dracula, which is in turn based on Bram Stoker‘s Dracula
Cast: Christopher Lee, Herbert Lom, Soledad Miranda

Cuadecuc, vampir [literal translation: Worm Tail, Vampire] tells the well-known story of Count Dracula but with behind the scenes footage and scenes that where filmed along the actual shoot of Count Dracula.

The film provides a sometimes fascinating look behind the scenes, but I think that an actual behind the scenes documentary would have been nicer – clandestinely shooting the same film with the same actors for a second time might sound cool on paper, but doesn’t really work in the execution. (Or at least not in this execution of it.)

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